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[March 10, 2014]
(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) OSAKA, March 11 -- (Kyodo) _ (EDS: UPDATING WITH MORE INFO) Sharp Corp. is considering a tie-up with leading U.S. pay TV provider Comcast Corp. in which it would supply liquid crystal display televisions with inbuilt cable channel receivers, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.
As Sharp's earnings for the consumer LCD TV business have been worsening due to price competition with foreign rivals, it plans to revive the business by expanding deals with corporate customers, they said.
Comcast announced in February it would buy the second-biggest U.S. cable company Time Warner Cable Inc., expanding its subscriber base to roughly 30 million from some 20 million.
Comcast is expected to seek to bolster its services through leasing of Sharp's TVs to subscribers.
Sharp plans to provide the cable company roughly 100 high-definition TVs with enhanced Internet capabilities on a trial basis. But the companies have yet to agree on contract terms, according to Sharp sources.
If they reach a deal, the LCD panels for the TVs are expected to be produced at Sharp's Sakai plant jointly operated by Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industries Co. in Osaka Prefecture. Some of the TVs could be produced at the Kameyama plant in Mie Prefecture, Sharp's another major LCD panel factory in Japan.
Sharp is expected to post a group net profit of 5 billion yen for the current business year ending March, turning into the black for the first time in three years.
The company was looking for a partner to boost its LCD TV sales, which are likely to dip about 0.4 percent from a year earlier to 8 million units in the year to March.
(c) 2014 Kyodo News International, Inc.
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